5 Errors Online Forms and Workflows Can Prevent

Online forms

Even with tools like calculators, errors can easily make it onto paper forms.

When some people need to accomplish some business function, from sending a package to creating a medical record, their heart sinks at the sight of paper forms and a pen. There are too many better options these days, and paper forms filled out manually can bring a process to a near-complete, screeching halt.

Not only is it a pain to use paper and pen when you have a keyboard or smartphone available, manual processes are far more subject to errors. Not everyone has legible handwriting, and not every data entry clerk has impeccable eyesight. There are many more places for errors to creep in with paper forms than with online forms. When you use form creation software to make online forms, not only do you make things faster and easier, you cut down on errors. Here are five errors that online forms and workflows can help prevent.

1. Data Entry Errors

Is the character on a person’s insurance ID card a zero, or the letter “O”? Maybe the person entering data forgot their reading glasses and misread “9” as “4.” Naturally, misreading a character and entering it wrong in an online form can happen too, but online forms can be designed by your form creation software to “know” when certain errors have been made. For example, a particular parts number may always begin with the letter “Z” and can flag an error if someone tries to enter a “2” instead.

2. Data Transcription Errors

Transferring data from a paper form into a spreadsheet or database is fraught with error risks. Some people simply don’t, or can’t, write clearly.

Say you run a medical office. An elderly patient with hand tremors may not be able to write clearly. The result can be frustration on their part, as well as on the part of the clerk who must enter the data. Making forms available online beforehand can optimize the chances that the patient, or a helper, can enter data that can be automatically checked and sent directly to the database where it needs to reside.

3. Errors Due to Form Damage

Who hasn’t spilled coffee or a soda onto a form halfway through filling it out? With many spills, the temptation is to blot it with a paper towel and hope for the best. Unfortunately, however, information can become blurred or smudged, resulting in data transcription errors. Or if a paper form is damaged during shipment by mail, the receiving clerk may have a hard time reading an important bit of data from the form and may make their best guess – which might be wrong. Damaged forms aren’t just unpleasant to handle. They can cause errors to enter the system.

Online forms

Paper forms face issues that electronic forms don’t.

4. Careless Errors

You know how the IRS has all those worksheets on which you (or your tax preparer) make calculations? That’s an attempt to minimize careless errors, like misreading a figure when you add or subtract, for example. Online forms and workflows can include many backstops to prevent careless errors. For example, if shipping is a certain percentage of the purchase price, these calculations can be done automatically by the workflow, so you can be confident that the correct shipping rate is assessed.

5. Out of Range Errors

Suppose your company sells residential carpet by the square yard, but your new employee is used to calculating the area in square feet. This could lead to the mistaken belief that you have just sold quite a bit more carpet than you actually have! Again, online forms can include backstops to help prevent these errors. If your typical order is for under 500 square feet, the online form can be made to ask for confirmation and to reiterate the correct dimensions if someone enters something highly unusual, like 45,000 square feet. With a paper form, recognizing, tracking down, and correcting such an error can take much longer.

Online forms probably can’t be made 100% error-free, but the simple act of converting paper forms to online forms can drastically cut down on error rates. PerfectForms is online form builder software that gives you the power and flexibility to create fully customized online forms and workflows that include a number of different error checks and confirmation steps. And you don’t have to modify someone else’s online form template if you don’t want to: you can create exactly what you want from the start. Try PerfectForms for yourself for free by signing up for a trial. Drastically lower error rates, plus significantly greater efficiency make it a sound investment.

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